July 19

Birthdays: Alice Dunbar Nelson (1875), A.J. Cronin (1896), Stephen Coonts (1946), Jayne Anne Phillips (1952), Garth Nix (1963), Lisa Jewell (1968), Thulani Davis (1949)

Tip: When an agent or editor asks for a three-chapter sample, send the first three chapters. Do not pick and choose non-sequential ones.

Thought for the day: “Just write one chapter at a time and one day you’ll be surprised by your own finished novel.” – Garth Nix

Jumpstart: You buy an antique desk. While cleaning it, you find a hidden cache containing an old letter and a map. The name on the letter is a family you recognize, but you are definitely not friends with them. What do you do?

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